|Full name||William Ballintrae Gillespie|
|Date of birth||6 August 1891|
|Place of birth||Kerrykeel, Ireland|
|Date of death||2 July 1981(aged 89)|
|Place of death||Bexley, England|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Billy Gillespie (6 August 1891 – 2 July 1981) was an Irish football player who played as a striker for Sheffield United over a twenty-year period from 1913 to 1932, scoring over 137 League and Cup goals in 492 games for the South Yorkshire side. Gillespie was born in Kerrykeel, County Donegal, Ireland and began his career with Irish side Institute in 1907. After a short spell with Linfield he moved to England to play for Leeds City in 1910 before moving to Sheffield United in 1912, where he would stay until he retired from playing. Gillespie also made 25 appearances for the Ireland national team. In 1932 he took over as manager of Derry City where he remained until 1940. After leaving Derry, Gillespie moved to the south of England where he lived until his death in 1981.
Institute and Leeds City
Gillespie started his footballing career with local side Institute in 1907. In 1910, Gillespie had a short trial with Irish side Linfield and was due to sign for them when Leeds City manager Frank Scott-Walford persuaded him to turn professional and join the West Yorkshire club instead. Having made his Football League debut, Gillespie was largely confined to the reserves but was unhappy at not making further progress.
Sheffield United signed Gillespie from Leeds City in December 1912 for £500 for the maximum wage, then £4 per week. Gillespie made his debut on Boxing Day 1911, scoring in a 2–2 draw with Newcastle United and played regularly for the Blades from that point on. Gillespie was denied an FA Cup Winner's medal in 1915, when he missed United's victory with a broken leg, received in the first game of the season against Sunderland in September 1914. Following the end of World War I, Gillespie returned to United and resumed his place in the first-team, although now playing a more withdrawn role as an inside forward. Continuing to play regularly, Gillespie took over as club captain from George Utley in 1923 and in the following five seasons helped United reach two FA Cup semi-finals and finally won a winner's medal in 1925. Retaining his position for a further three years, Gillespie began coaching United's young players in during the 1930–31 season, before retiring from playing at the end of that season.
Gillespie was offered the position of manager of Derry City in 1932, where he remained until 1940. Gillespie was held in such regard that the club agreed to change their strip to red and white stripes in recognition of his career at Sheffield United. Following World War II he continued with his connection to United, acting as a scout for his former team and compiling match and player reports until the 1970s.
His first cap came in 1913, his two goals giving Ireland their very first victory over England. He was a part of the Ireland side that won the 1914 British Home Championship outright after gaining wins over England and Wales and a draw against Scotland at Windsor Park. Gillespie scored seven goals against England, matching a record set by Scotland players Geordie Ker and John Smith. Gillespie played for the Ireland national team operated by the Irish Football Association (IFA), which now operates the Northern Ireland national football team. Gillespie held the IFA record for most international goals scored for 78 years, with 13 goals. His record was equalled by Colin Clarke in 1992 and broken by David Healy in 2004.
Scores and results list Ireland/Northern Ireland's goal tally first.
Gillespie was born in Kerrykeel, County Donegal, where his father was a constable with the RAC. Gillespie was married to Rosie with three children, Billy, Jane and Tricia. Gillespie served as a gunner during World War I, during which time he lost most of his hair. During World War II he returned to Sheffield where he worked at Hadfields munitions works. Gillespie moved to the south of England following his retirement and died in his sleep in Bexley, Kent on 2 July 1981, aged 89. In September 2013, a commemorative plaque was erected at Rab's Park, Kerrykeel, the local community sport field, in recognition of Gillepsie's achievements and his links to the town. http://davidmoenblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/donegals-forgotten-fa-cup-winning-captain/
As a player:
As a manager:
- City Cup: 1934–35, 1936–37
Sheffield United career
|Season||Division||League Apps||League Goals||FA Cup Apps||FA Cup Goals||Other Apps||Other Goals||Total Apps||Total Goals|
- Denis Clarebrough & Andrew Kirkham (2008). Sheffield United Who's Who. Hallamshire Press. p. 135. ISBN 978-1-874718-69-7.
- "Honouring the great Billy Gillespie". Folklore and fables: Season III. UTB - Up The Blades. Sheffield United F.C. (5): 14–15. 21 September 2013.
- "Archive". www.thefa.com. The Football Association. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
Gillespie's 13th and last international goal was a national record until David Healy broke it in 2004. This was Gillespie's 7th goal against England, matching the record set by Geordie Ker and John Smith, which hasn't been equalled.[dead link]
- "Profile of Billie Gillespie". www.irishfa.com. Irish Football Association. Archived from the original on 24 April 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
- Irish Football Association – 'Legends of the Game' profile
- Billy Gillespie at National-Football-Teams.com